Tips, Hints and Ideas

One of the oldest tips but one of the simplest and best is to set an alarm clock for each pill time.   Using a pill dispenser can make it easier to check whether you have actually given the pills ...  (did I or didn’t I?).

Pill time can be stressful for some dogs so make sure you wrap them up in a favourite treat if you are having problems.  Cheese worked for my dogs but it will always be trial and error.

Dogs taking phenobarbitone need regular checks on their liver.   The vet may not be your dog’s favourite person when he/she has a needle in their hand but monitoring of liver enzymes can help prevent serious damage.

  Keep a seizure diary, invaluable when you go to the vet and for noting any missed or late tablets. 

Join the PCFCE – just talking to someone who understands what you are going through can be very reassuring.  Hearing other people’s experiences can give confidence and sharing worries may reduce stress.  You can speak, email or text us.  There are other groups such as EpilK9 if you would like to join an online community. Visit to find out how to join.

If your dog is taking potassium bromide KBr (Libromide®) try not to make sudden changes to his diet.  KBr is eliminated through the kidneys and changes in salt levels can result in the drug either remaining in the body longer than normal (when the dog might appear dopey) or being excreted too quickly.  Check therapeutic levels in the blood on a regular basis to avoid a build up to toxic levels.  

Other drugs metabolised by the liver taken in addition to phenobarbitone (e.g.Meloxidyl®) can affect how quickly the pheno is removed from the body resulting in either sleepiness or an increase in seizures.  Check therapeutic levels regularly.  

Make your vet your best friend. If possible find someone interested and prepared to go the extra mile, change vets within the practice or change practices, try to see the same vet for continuity and peace of mind.  If you are struggling, don’t be afraid to ask for a referral to a veterinary neurologist.  They are the experts. 

Visit if you would like to read more about the causes of epilepsy in “Why Does My Dog Have Seizures” by Roy Dvorak. 

If you can’t decide whether to use a crate for your epileptic dog, please remember that small bones and limbs can be caught and damaged in a full blown fit (Dr Croft remembered an epileptic police dog breaking its leg). There are so called soft crates but I am not sure how stable they are and they would not last long with my chewers. If your dog has to stay overnight at the vets do make sure there is always someone on the premises.

New Owners

For all new people..

  • yes, you will miss a dose of your dog’s medication;
  • yes, you will probably double dose at some point;
  • you may not be at home for every seizure;
  • yes, you will screw up the rectal valium too;
  • no, you are not a bad ‘mom’ or ‘dad’ or stupid or irresponsible when any of these things happen;
  • yes, it is OK to let your dog be a dog and run,  play and get into trouble, just like every other dog;
  • yes, it is OK to get annoyed with your epi dog when he does what dogs do like chew shoes or get into the litter box;
  • yes, it is OK for your epi dog to get annoyed at you :-) and pretend he can’t hear you when you call him or ask him to sit;
  • yes, it is OK for you to leave the house to go to work, school, dinner with friends, the kid’s school play etc.  Just make sure your pets are as safe as they can be;

And my favourite…

  • yes, it is OK to have a sense of humour about this lousy condition.  Laughter relieves stress, use it to your advantage.